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What Exactly is an Arrest Warrant?

A warrant is a document of value, recognized by state and federal law, which allows law enforcements to perform an arrest of an individual and bring the person into custody. An arrest warrant is also known as warrant for arrest. This top elf warrant is usually issued by a state judge and give complete authority to detain an individual as well as search the individual’s property. In order to obtain an arrest warrant police has to convince a judge that a crime has either been committed or about to be committed by an individual.

A warrant which is issued by a judge, must be signed and deliver to the person which is being detained. An arrest warrant will have limitations and specifications as to how and when the arrest can be made. Some, but not all arrest warrants will specify the bail that would need to be posted in order for the person to be freed until further proceedings. If a police officer wishes to obtain a warrant, he or she must submit a written request to a neutral judge. The request must include relevant information and probable cause for a crime committed by a person.

What Details Would an Arrest Warrant Contain?

Arrest Warrant Document will Have the Following:

  • District court jurisdiction in which the warrant has been issued
  • United States of America VS. Name of Individual
  • Type of complaint for which the warrant has been issued for
  • Description of crime allegedly committed by the individual the warrant has been issued for
  • Case Number and Police Department Number
  • Name of Defendant, Date and Location of Warrant
  • Laws under which the Warrant has been issued Under
  • Acting Judge Seal and Signature
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Warrants: What Exactly are Warrants and What Type of Warrants are There?

We have all heard the term "warrants" countless times on TV shows, movies and the news, and while it seems like we know exactly what it means, most of us do not really understand what warrants are, or what the legality of warrants is. To become a crimedrama expert and get to know the US law up close, read about warrants and exactly what they mean

Warrants: What Exactly are Warrants?

'Warrant' can mean any number of things, including investments in the financial world. To make things easier, we will focus on what are warrants in the legal sense of things. By definition, a warrant is a writ (a formal order) issued by a magistrate or a judge, that permits authorities to commit otherwise illegal acts that violate individual rights. The officials that execute the warrant are a constable, a police officer, and a sheriff.

What Types of Warrants are There?

In the United States, there are 4 major types of warrants that can be issued by legal authorities:

  1. Arrest warrants – arrest warrants are issued after the police provides sufficient evidence, or a probable cause, that a crime has been committed by a certain suspect. This information is provided under oath by a police officer, who gives it to a magistrate or a judge. The arrest warrants include the name of the offender, the offense he/she committed, an order of arrest, and a signature/name of the magistrate/judge who ordered the warrant.
  2. Bench warrant – a 'bench' is the spot where one seats in front of a judge. When a offender fails to appear in front of a judge, a bench warrant is issued against them. When the suspect is not on the bench at the date appointed to him/her, a bench warrant is issued, and the suspect can be arrested once again.
  3. Witness warrant – this is a warrant that requires a person to come in front of the court and provide a document/evidence in a certain case. The warrant is issued by the court, and of the witness disobeys, he/she may be punishable by law. If the witness provides proof they cannot give any material evidence, they can be excused from testifying.
  4. Surety warrant – a 'surety' is a term that refers to a person who commits to supervise a person who is out on bail. The promise is made in front of a judge of justice or a court, and in addition to the supervision, the surety also signs a bond for a certain amount of money. The money can be lost if the person who was accused of committing a crime does not adhere to the terms of their bail.

Arrest Statistics in the United States

Over the past several years, there has been an increase in violent crime in the United States, and a decrease in property crimes. As of 2017, there were 1.2 million reported violent crimes in the United States. The most common violent crime in the US is aggravated assault, with approx. 63.4% of all violent crimes. In the property crime front, there are 7.9 million reported cases a year, with 71.2% of all cases being larceny-theft.

Not all reported crimes in the United States end up with an arrest warrant, or a warrant of any kind, so there are less warrants then there are crimes. The state with the higher number of arrest warrants is South Dakota, with 8,718.1 arrest warrants per every 100,000 residents. The state with the lowest number of arrest warrants is Massachusetts, with 1,819.6 crimes per every 100,000 residents.

Aside from violent crimes and property crimes, there was also a rise in the number of drugs relates crimes in the United Sates. As a result, the number of drug warrants that were issued in 2017 were higher than ever. Over 1,500,000 drug arrest warrants were issued in 2017, making drug related offenses more common than violent crimes in the United States. The rise in drug arrests is the results of a harsher policy against drug law violators. Minor drug offenses in the US result in arrest warrants. Also, arrest warrants are issued against people with substance abuse problems, which results in a rise in the number of arrest warrants.

Where are Arrest Warrants Maintained?

After arrest warrants are issued and executed, they become a part of the suspect's criminal record. Unless fully expunged, criminal records consist of vital information regarding a person's criminal past, such as any warrants issued against them, a list of the crimes they committed, mugshots, convictions, arrest records, and much more.

All this information becomes a part of public records in each state (unless it involves a minor), and the public can view them upon request. The processing of a public records check request usually takes several days to complete, and it can be quite costly. To make the process easier, you can use GoLookUp and conduct a criminal records check, as well as an arrest warrants check. The website will scan all the public records available under a person's name, and will provide you with a full account of their records.

What is Posting Bail?

If an offender or a suspect is taken to jail, they can be released after posting bail. Bail is a sum of money decided upon by the court, that considers the severity of the crime, the evidence against the defendant, the possible outcome of a trial and other circumstances. Once the sum of a bail is determined, it can be posted to the court by the defendant, or someone else who has the means to post it. The surety who posts the bail agrees to be responsible for the defendant's appearance in court. If the offender does not appear in front of the bench, legal action can be made against them and against the surety. If a certain defendant is a flight risk, or if there is a chance that a trial will result in life in prison, a bail is usually not issued.

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Search for anyone in the United States! 100% Confidential! Updated on August 4, 2021
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